Marketing is a multi-faceted beast in which companies will continually switch their focus to affect different elements of the business. From growing an online following on social media to optimising conversions on their website, businesses employ different strategies each with their own sets of methodologies to achieve the desired result.
In this article, we’re talking about brand marketing. What it is, what it isn’t, why it’s important and some of the ways you can create a brand marketing strategy.
What is Brand Marketing?
Brand marketing is how you promote your product and services in a way that builds value in your brand’s overall image and creates long-term relationships with customers. In other words, it takes all of the qualities of your branding and uses marketing strategies to communicate them to your audience.
Branding vs Brand Marketing
It’s very easy to confuse these two concepts so let’s see what differentiates them.
Branding - Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos describes it as this:
“your brand is what people say about you when you’re not in the room.”
This definition captures the essence of branding. It's about your brand’s unique personality, how it’s interpreted, and the traits and characteristics that make up your identity and reputation.
Marketing - The act of using tactics and strategies to promote and sell your product or service. This could be to raise awareness, gain new customers, retarget old ones and so on.
To sum up; branding represents who you are and marketing is how you make people aware of you.
Why is Brand Marketing Important? And What Are the Common Goals?
Aside from being spoken about nicely or held in high regard (both of which are important!) brand marketing aims to satisfy clear objectives whether that’s raising awareness or increasing revenue. Theoretically, it’s very easy to market a business, you could simply pay for some ads or hash out masses of content and plaster it across different channels, but these efforts are meaningless if your audience doesn’t resonate with your brand in the first place.
So, with this in mind, here are the most common brand marketing objective and benefits:
Increasing brand awareness: Brand marketing gets your company in front of more people, this helps to create an easily-recognisable brand for your customers. This level of awareness builds authority and value in your brand to help push leads, referrals and sales.
Building trust and loyalty: Brand marketing promotes authority, ethics, values and identity. The more defined these are and the better you are at marketing them, the more trust and kinship can be built with customers. This continual effort of displaying your value keeps customers engaged with your brand and wanting to come back.
Building brand equity: Brand equity encompasses awareness, loyalty, financial metrics and customer preferences but in essence, brand marketing helps to establish you as a leader and authority in your industry. This translates to more credibility and trust from your audience thus increasing your brand equity.
Brand engagement: Brand marketing allows you to be on multiple channels at once, meaning more people can interact and engage with your brand, whether it’s a website, social media or email. Brand engagement is how you respond and encourage participation from your community.
Solidifying brand image and identity: Brand marketing can be used to highlight the design and visual elements of your brand. Features like the logo, themes, slogan, packaging, mission statement, mascots - everything that plays a part in creating a cohesive visual representation of what your brand looks and feels like.
Personalised messaging: Getting clear on your brand’s message and goals helps to define who and how you market your communications. By appealing to the individual needs of a customer and personalising their experience, brand marketing can be made more effective.
In an ultra-competitive landscape, it is becoming increasingly difficult to stand out amongst a sea of rivals and copycats. This is why brand marketing is so vital, it helps to forge an emotional connection through visual and verbal storytelling to create lasting impressions.
Build a brand marketing strategy in 4 steps
It’s understandable to feel overwhelmed with brand marketing as we often compare the efforts of our business to the goliaths of the world like Apple, Mcdonald's or Nike. But brand marketing is not exclusively designed for large corporate budgets.
To get started, we’ve compiled 4 easy-to-follow steps that any-size business can put into practice right away!
1. Define your brand purpose
The first step in building a brand marketing strategy is to establish why you exist and what you offer customers. This is referred to as the value proposition.
Once you’re clear on the what and the why, you can start digging deeper into how this will resonate with customers through the tone of voice, visual identity, ethics and so on.
When thinking about your brand’s purpose, ask yourself these questions:
What’s the story behind your brand? The journey that took your brand from concept to inception is a powerful way to connect with customers. Everybody loves a good hero story so be authentic. A great story is also useful for creating an about us page on the website and serves as the foundation for your visual identity and communication style.
What problem does your product or service solve? Pain points are the unique challenges that customers are trying to overcome. It’s no good throwing a product out there for the sake of it, you need to know 100% how your product can help solve a problem.
Why should they choose you? This question involves conducting some competitor research. Find out what your rivals are doing well and not so well. Think about why and how your brand is the better choice for customers.
Who is your target audience? What type of person best represents the ideal customer? Finding your target audience involves more research and even developing buyer personas (these are fictional avatars based on your perfect customer) but it will hone your marketing efforts.
2. Create a brand image
This step refers to all of the visual design elements that make up your brand image. Using the answers from step one, you’ll now have a clear idea of the who, what, and why of your brand; now is the time to incorporate this into a brand image.
These design elements include:
- Business name - This one is self-explanatory but make sure it’s relevant!
- Brand logo - an instantly identifiable graphic that captures your brand identity.
- Tagline/Slogan - a simple and memorable phrase to draw your audience in
- Colour palette - the themes and colours used to represent your brand feeling
- Fonts - the text style should reflect your brand image and industry
Creating a cohesive and consistent brand image does a lot of the heavy lifting when customers are deciding whether or not to engage with you. If you’ve done your research and have a brand design that speaks to your audience, they’ll naturally gravitate towards it.
3. Decide on marketing strategies and channels
The next step in your brand marketing strategy will be to choose where you’ll promote it! There are lots of options including paid and non-paid methods but our general advice would be to start with 2 or 3 channels, measure their performance, and then tweak or add more as you go.
Here are the most common brand marketing channels:
Search engine marketing (SEM) - this is a paid method and includes running ad campaigns using platforms such as Google Ads. SEM is great for campaigns wanting to drive traffic and for getting customers to take action.
Social media marketing - we don't need to tell you how popular social media but we can tell you that brand image is massive on these platforms. Instagram prioritises imagery and stories to spread brand awareness and engagement. LinkedIn welcomes longer-form content such as articles and thought-pieces to build authority and credibility. Each social media platform has its own nuances you’ll need to grasp before creating content.
Content marketing - content is king! Or so the saying goes. This marketing strategy includes written content such as blogs, guides (like this one!), audio content like podcasts and video content such as publishing on YouTube or TikTok.
Email marketing - email remains one of the best ways to nurture leads, spread awareness, drive conversions and retain loyal customers. Combine your visual identity and tone of voice to create engaging emails.
These are the most popular channels for brand marketing but remember that whichever channel you decide on, keep the brand image and identity consistent at all times!
Make sure your copy and tone of voice reflect your target audience and how you want to be perceived as a brand. Incorporate colour palettes and striking layouts that are consistent with your other marketing materials. Consistency is what matters and ultimately is what will solidify your brand image in customers’ minds.
4. Test, measure and analyse
No brand marketing campaign is complete without seeing the results. Use marketing analytics tools to determine how successful your campaign has been. After analysing the data, you can make adjustments on the go or incorporate the feedback into your next strategy.
Testing, measuring, analysing and iterating make up the brand marketing feedback loop and as you try more channels and different approaches, you’ll eventually find the sweet spot.
Brand marketing shows who you are to the world
Building long-lasting impressions that embody your brand values and resonate with your target audience across multiple channels is at the core of brand marketing.
Designing a great product or service that can make a difference in people’s lives is one thing, but getting that vision to the masses is where brand marketing comes in.
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